Score: A

It’s nice when a show will surprise you in a positive way. The introduction of a new art club kouhai had me a bit worried. It’s not unusual for romcoms to throw in a new rival to slow things down and shake things up. So, I was fully expecting Sunomiya to be utterly frustrating and get in the way. In a sense she is in the way. But honestly, I think she’s a good addition to the cast and will be a far more positive presence than anything else. So, if her first impression holds up then I think Sunomiya will be a nice supporting cast member going forward. The same goes for Orihara. She wasn’t a major part of this episode, but her straight forward approach with Hayase should prove helpful in the future.

Orihara is tough to handle

The show almost changes phases through this season. Early on it was important just to build things up between Nagatoro and Naoto. They needed that art club to be basically just the two of them with light interference coming from Nagatoro’s friends. With her teasing and his awkwardness there really wasn’t room for too much interference or other characters to be in that mix too often. But now they’ve clearly built up a foundation. Both characters are obviously interested in the other and they are working to mature individually. Naoto especially has grown quite a bit and gained both more confidence and a willingness to push himself to improve.

So now is a good time to have a supporting cast on both sides that wants to help push these two along. Nagatoro has all sorts of positive influences on that front. But Orihara should prove to be a useful presence. She’s a rival that Nagatoro wants to surpass so anything she says will eat at Nagatoro a bit harder than if one of her other friends said it. And clearly Sunomiya is going to be a very valuable presence in giving Naoto the push he needs. The series has teased that kind of presence with his male friends. But they just aren’t that close (in that they aren’t in the art club) or aren’t motivated enough to push him. But Sunomiya seems plenty willing to push.

This girl is just a positive influence

Sunomiya ended up a lot more likable than I thought. Part of me figured she’d have a crush on Naoto and create more drama. That kind of drama being unhelpful since clearly if Naoto had feelings for this girl, he wouldn’t have been drawn in so hard by Nagatoro the whole time. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like they are going there. She seems like a good kouhai that shares a passion for art. She clearly has respect for Naoto, but also seems more like her cousin than anything else. The art drives her and she’ll chase that drive.

At the very least Sunomiya is clearly going to be a force to push Naoto. She’s already helped push him to define his views on Nagatoro and talk more openly about how he feels about her. And she’s already pushing him to take her out on a date. I liked how she noted his art showing much more life and colour than it did the last time she saw him. It’s not simply a question of skill, but his interest in the model. Her stance of Nagatoro being Naoto’s Goddess is kind of fitting. He may define her more as a devil, but she’s helped his art blossom. Not unfair either to call the art club the love nest for him and Nagatoro. She’s not going to leave the club or anything, but instead she seems ready to push Naoto to chase after Nagatoro more than he has.

Maybe someday this scene will really happen

The early part of the episode shows their current status quo, but also how far things have developed. At this point Nagatoro is plainly demanding that Naoto define his feelings. Does he want to kiss her or not!? She’s not backing off on that idea of getting a kiss from him if she can beat Orihara. Now she’s not all out confessing her love for him. But at the very least she is making more effort. It’s still a lot for Naoto himself to handle and makes me wish we’d gotten a response from him before Sunomiya entered the picture. But at the very least he can’t convince himself that Nagatoro is messing with him about that conversation. One can say he can only convince himself of so much considering Nagatoro straight up demanded he get his hands on her and give a massage this week!

Hopefully Nagatoro really does chase love and judo equally

We are obviously heading towards the finale of this season and I’m going to miss this show. The developments this season have been good and interesting. I love the addition of Sunomiya in particular, but also Orihara. Both Nagatoro and Naoto are getting a good push from those close to them. Even if they can’t fully admit to their feelings yet, they are at least acknowledging more things. I’m sure we won’t get a confession here, but it at least feels like we’re getting closer to that at least being possible. Hopefully they just keep on developing for as many episodes as we still have.

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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